Genesis 12: 1-3
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
How the U.S. Should Respond to the U.N. Vote for Palestinian Statehood (excerpt)
The Proper U.S. Response
Palestine’s effort to seek U.N. membership and recognition through the U.N.
is without foundation. A U.N. General Assembly vote on a resolution involving
recognition of the state of Palestine is legally nonbinding. Furthermore, it
cannot be admitted as a U.N. member state without a Security Council
Diplomatically and rhetorically, however, Palestine will portray the vote as
support for its unilateral declaration of statehood, attempt to use it to impose
unacceptable conditions on Israel by circumventing bilateral negotiations, and
refer to it as evidence in its ongoing assault on the legitimacy of a U.N.
member state. This is a serious misuse of the U.N. By treating this effort
seriously, the U.N. would further undermine the degraded standards of statehood,
beyond the damage it has already done by accepting failed states among its
membership. Such an action would reflect badly on those member states willing to
misuse the U.N. in this fashion and, more broadly, damage the credibility of the
U.N. in a manner reminiscent of the “Zionism is racism” in the 1970s. Finally,
this would further discredit the U.N. in the eyes of many Americans.
To minimize the negative effects of the resolution and to obviate the
political concerns, the U.S. should:
- Argue and provide evidence that the General Assembly cannot
vote to admit a member without a Security Council recommendation. A vote by
the General Assembly, even operating under an emergency special session
established under the Uniting for Peace resolution, is not sufficient to
override the procedures laid out in the Charter for admitting new members. This
position is supported by the treaty text, affirmed by an advisory opinion of the
International Court of Justice, and bolstered by more than 65 years of practice
- Veto any recommendation, positive or negative, on admitting
Palestine as a member state of the U.N. The President has strongly implied
that the U.S. would veto a recommendation on Palestinian statehood and that does
seem to be the U.S. position. However, President Obama should remove any doubt
by clearly stating that the U.S. will veto any recommendation for Palestinian
membership in the U.N. before a permanent peace agreement, including Palestine’s
official recognition of Israel’s right to exist, is negotiated. Moreover, the
U.S. should clearly state that it will also veto any negative recommendation on
Palestinian statehood lest the General Assembly disingenuously cite it as a
“recommendation” sufficient to justify a vote on membership.
- Declare that the U.S. will not recognize Palestine,
regardless of the vote in the General Assembly, until the Palestinian Authority upholds its end of peace negotiations with Israel. For the U.S. to recognize Palestine, the Palestinian Authority must begin to act as a government should act, including exercising a government’s legitimate domestic and international
responsibilities to protect and provide basic services to its people as opposed
to relying on the international community. It must renounce its governing
partnership with Hamas, act decisively to end acts of terrorism originating in
Palestinian territory and punish those responsible, and agree to a permanent
peace agreement, including official recognition of Israel’s right to exist.
- Announce that the U.S. will withhold voluntary or assessed
funds to any U.N. organization that admits Palestine as a state or grants it non-member state observer status. In the late 1980s, the Palestinians sought
to gain membership in U.N. organizations, such as the World Health Organization,
to bolster their claims of statehood. The U.S. blocked this effort by making a
credible threat to withhold contributions to any U.N. organization that admitted
Palestine as a member state. The U.S. should issue a similar statement before
the U.N. General Assembly vote this September stating clearly that the U.S. will
withhold contributions to any U.N. organization that admits Palestine as a
member state or grants it non-member state observer status.
Danny Danon is the Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset
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